On Writing

, Feb 1, 2005

Mike Champion, formerly Software AG, now Microsoft, has a blog — subscribed. All of his posts are worth linking to, so I’ll pick an off-topic issue from one of them, a pointer to Orwell’s classical Politics and the English Language with this famous set of rules for writing, written almost 60 years ago:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never us a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.